Saturday, March 23, 2013


I bought a copy of The Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson at our local Goodwill store with the intention of giving it to a friend of mine. When I got home, Les was looking at it and said, "Did you see the inscription?" I said, "What? No, now I can't give it to her." Les said he thought that my friend would think it hilarious for me to give her a book inscribed to another person. (How he thinks he knows her better than I, I don't know, as he has never met her!) I know that she wouldn't mind that I gave her something used, but, it's just the idea of giving her a present that's used is discomforting to me.

I asked Les, "How could anyone give away a copy of Emily Dickinson's poems?" I had a moral dilemma: should I give the book with the inscription to my friend or should I tear out the page with the inscription on it? That would look tacky! Should I give her my own treasured copy which came from Lazarus (it's a Modern Library edition**) with the $2.45 price sticker still on the book. I bought the book when I was a teenager, with money I'd won as a prize at school. Besides, my volume is very worn and the one from Goodwill looks pristine.

The final drollery: the book is inscribed to "Ginger and Joe". I know a couple named Ginger and Joe. I wondered just how many couples there are named Ginger and Joe. I have resisted calling Ginger to see if she is the Ginger who donated the book to Goodwill! Les said that if I can't resist the temptation to call Ginger then I should handle it gingerly!

**more about the Modern Library at a later date.

1 comment:

Jeremy B. said...

I personally enjoy books more if there's a name inside it or something written. It makes me wonder where the book has been and what was the person like? I also wonder why was it given away? Basically, I think it gives books character.